Walk into the gym near the hotel and even if you didn’t know you were in New Jersey, you’d know you were in New Jersey. Two trainers stand by the door, each with his hair piled high. The guys look like Vinnie Barbarino in "Welcome Back Cotter."
In the weight room, an older guy invokes Broadway and talks about his good friend Christopher Walken. Thing is, the guy that talks about his good friend Chris is working his triceps, and he’s in the middle of a set.
Never believe anybody that can talk in complete sentences while he or she is in the middle of an exercise. The guy would fit great with the women back in the gym I use in Ballantyne. He could talk without breathing hard about his buddy Chris, and they could talk without breathing hard, for 30 minutes or 60 or more, about day care, schools, the new room, the new driveway, the pain of remodeling and kids, 40% of which are named Carson, Carleton or Carsten.
The best thing about the New Jersey gym is that everybody cleans up after themselves and even returns the weights where they’re supposed to go. The only guy that fails to wipe his sweat from the elliptical machine he uses wears a Georgetown shirt and, I suspect, is in town to watch the Hoyas tonight against Vanderbilt. In other words, he ain’t from around here.
As I walk out, I ask the woman behind the desk if she could recommend an Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. Before she does, one of the Vinnie Barbarino looking trainers says, "Vinnie’s."
"Don’t listen to him," says the woman. "He just likes it because that’s his name."